What is the future of Ikea after the death of Ingvar Kamprad?

“Ikea no longer has a master,” about the economist Magnus Henrekson this week in the daily of reference Dagens Nyheter after the disappearance Saturday, 91-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, whose fate was blended with his empire founded in 1943. In fact, master those of his employees, the warehouse manager, called “Ingvar” was a demi-god, reigning with paternalism caring about his troops, rewarded with generous bonuses. A mode of operation comparable “to a sect, which vouerait a cult in the raw pine and Allen keys,” wrote The Guardian in 2004.

“It has always been a guide to inspire us,” explained to the AFP Andreas Hovare, employee for 17 years, during the minute of silence observed on Monday in the memory of his deceased patron in the stores of the brand. So who will be the guide of substitution, to be endowed with this “common sense” of which Ingvar Kamprad was actually a method of management? No name stands out, if not those of the heirs Kamprad: Peter, age 49, Jonas, 47 years old, and Mathias, 44 years of age. Now, if Ikea had skilfully with employees the worship of their father, most of them have “no link” with the three brothers, observed for the AFP Ulf Johansson, director of the Centre for research on retailing at the university of Lund.

In a joint statement, they pledged to “honour the legacy” of their father. Without chair no, they occupy the key positions of the large divisions of Ikea: Jonas at Ingka Holding B. V, Mathias on Inter Ikea Holding B. V, Peter on Ikano bank, real estate). To Bertil Torekull, a friend and a confidant of the small peasant Swedish become one of the richest men on the planet, the prophets of doom predicting the end of the flat package and the furniture in the kit will be for their expenses. “You can never exclude a war within a family (…) but (the sons Kamprad) are smart enough to understand that they have inherited a goose that lays the golden eggs and keep the cap”, bet the author of a “History of Ikea”, in the columns of Dagens Nyheter. If the three brothers are “pale imitations” of their father, their influence is “huge”, and that was Ingvar who was more executive mandate for at least three decades, but retained the title of super adviser, said to the AFP Johan Stenebo, a former senior manager of Ikea, which was for three years assistant Kamprad.

Frames “high a bottle” Ikea

Influential, but certainly not the owners, recalls Lars-Johan Jarnheimer, one of the strong men of the ensign, chairman of the supervisory board of the holding company Dutch Ingka Holding B. V and president of the Ikea group. “The rules are very clear, the family Kamprad may not be a majority in a board of directors” of the group, he says, when asked by the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Ingvar Kamprad was preparing the succession for his 50th birthday in 1976. His idea was to split the company in foundations separate and watertight to build an impregnable fortress after his death. The benefits, they may not go to charities or back into the business.Only Ikano (banking and real estate) remains the full property of the family, a comfortable wool socks which manages 8 billion euros of assets for a net profit of 130 million euros in 2016. In fine, for the 190,000 employees of the brand and its executives as “high a bottle” Ikea, it is “business as usual”, according to Lars-Johan Jarnheimer. If the risk for Ikea, it resides in its capacity to respond to the challenges of the market, trade online, for example: by 2017, internet sales reached 1.7 billion euros, representing only 4.4% of the overall turnover (38.3 billion).

“Ingvar barrier of the four shoes, he did not want to trade online,” says Johan Stenebo. One thing seems to be established: because of its structure and of its success, Ikea is not close to enter the Stock market. “Ikea has nothing to gain from it”, slice Ulf Johansson. To the extent that the group has”enormous” reserves of capital, according to him. A nest egg which could be useful in the event of a conviction of Ikea by the european Commission for tax fraud, the house-Dutch mother being suspected by Brussels of having received undue benefits.

(with AFP)

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